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STEVE ELLIOTT

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By Miguel AKA Miggy420

The first part of the trial is over and now 12 people are sitting in a room debating Lance Gloor’s fate.

The shit show known as justice is over and right now people are deciding a man’s fate for a crime that has no victim and shouldn’t have gone as far as it has. The “investigation” proved that there was weed in the weed store and that the places of business ran their establishment like hundreds of others. But now we have something called recreational marijuana where the only requirement is a 21 and over ID; either way there is no evidence of wrong doing like serving a minor.

In fact all things he’s guilty of can be seen in a recreational store. They have weed on their shelves, the have counters full of lotions and brownies, they have ATMs because there is no established banking industry, so everyone is cash-only at the moment.

As an American this whole thing broke my heart, to see assholes like the Bundys to throw around words like “patriot” because they took over a center, when the real patriots were sitting in that courtroom because they believed this man not guilty of crime.

Lifestyle choices are not crimes; to like strippers and to pay your bills is not a crime. The criminal here is Vince Lombardi who has worked vigorously to take a man’s life, there is no “just doing your job” here.

A marijuana charge wasn’t good enough. You had to go with the trumped-up money laundering and gun charges as well, the added charges come with minimum sentences because they are “drug” related, so you knowingly want to take away a man’s freedom. Two years on an ankle bracelet isn’t enough for the prosecution, two years of limiting a man’s freedom and taking away his fun (no alcohol [legal] and no marijuana [quasi-legal]). Two years is more than enough punishment for a crime that shouldn’t be a crime.

To be in the same room with the prosecution is kind of unsettling, knowing that if they’re willing to put Lance away, they’re willing to harm me as well. “Just doing your job” is not an excuse in the justice system. What happened to common sense and the greater good?

Minus the strippers and ankle bracelet, Lance is just like me. None of us are perfect, but to prosecute a guy over a lavish lifestyle seems kind of un-American to me.

This trial is just important to the greater justice of marijuana in America. It’s also important to my friend Kristin Flor, whose father died shackled to a bed in prison for pot while serving his sentence. Kristin explained to me that she likes to bring her father’s ashes with her to these type events and that when she went to support the Kettle Falls Five trial they wouldn’t let her in with the ashes.

This frustrates me because what were they worried about? The government hates anything dissenting about the present state of laws on marijuana, not because it’s complicated but that it’s easy to make a “criminal.”

Men and women are being killed, children being hurt, families being separated, men and women locked behind bars, all over a healing plant that is recreationally legal by the people in four states and our nation’s capital.

And people wonder why America is fucked?

In America, we’re supposed to be able to face our accuser, but in Lance’s case the investigation was started by anonymous patients disgruntled that he was successful based off an idiotic Facebook post with bags of money that weren’t even his.

This case is the perfect storm of American bullshit; the State investigation should’ve stopped at the attempt to make purchases but were turned around for not having proper authorizations. Case closed, another shop like so many. If the state narcotics agency are not happy with the medical marijuana law and now the recreational law, I ask why? Are you mad you can’t go after easy targets?

We all have to sleep with the things we’ve done with our life and I wonder how one can sleep knowing that marijuana is not a moral crime. In fact it’s the law that is in the wrong here and by enforcing this law you are not applying real world common sense to whatever problem you think marijuana invokes.

I want to have faith in the system– to not fear a cop but to embrace– but it’s hard to when our present judicial system puts the power with the person working in a Federal position, prosecuting a man that was within State guidelines. It’s the guidelines that should be on trial, not a man.

As we walked in, I could feel my palms get sweaty and my heart beat rapidly. This is a man’s life, the room filled with supporters, and the trial began: First were the directions to the jury, things to take into consideration and things he was being charged for.

There were 37 of these points and honestly if I was a juror that took it all in for consideration a hemorrhage would occur. After the 37 long and drawn out points the prosecution began their closing argument.

Assistant U.S Attorney Marci Ellsworth started the argument, most of her presentation was that he was living a lavish lifestyle and thus he must be a bad guy. With terms like “high roller” she was trying to make him look like a Mafioso of marijuana. She also pointed to the surveillance system in his bedroom watching his grow; the last I checked that’s a 502 requirement for grows as well. Next she paints Lance with a lust for money with “Lance Gloor didn’t let anything get between him and his money.” It took all my might not to yell “Wu-Tang Clan forever!”

After what sounded like a prosecutorial sales pitch on PowerPoint we went to lunch and the defense was next. I thought Karen Unger presented a beautiful case of doubt, especially for only getting the case three months prior.

Karen began with dissecting some of the 37 points I wrote about earlier. She said that the indictment is not evidence; the fact that he’s charged does not mean he’s a bad person, and that the burden of proof is on the government. The burden to prove he was in some form a part of a conspiracy, and to consider what is evidence, it’s the jury’s choice.

Along with dissecting the legal mumbo jumbo, she left the jurors with some things to think about: The fact that he opened dispensaries in Washington State, he was trying to be as legal as possible, there is no conspiracy here. A hotel receipt for the Ramada Inn was used as evidence for a lavish lifestyle, here she points out “The Ramada Inn in Olympia is not a lavish lifestyle.”

The lack of the ability to bank was brought up to counter the money laundering claim; cash only is not a crime. Ms. Unger brought up many valid points and I wish I was a proper journalist to bring more that she said, but the ones I have included have been the gist of a solid argument to me.

Assistant US Attorney Vincent Lombardi [KUOW]
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Assistant US Attorney Vincent Lombardi
[KUOW]

After the defense’s closing argument, the prosecution gets one more time since it’s up to them to have burden of proof. This time prosecutor Vince Lombardi stepped up to bat to present the last argument in this shit-show, with a smug and condescending demeanor as he walked up to the podium.

Lombardi countered the defense argument that the bank documents showing deposits to accounts in dispensary names (when banks were doing it) are important because “It’s a lot of money.” I ask this, what is a lot of money for a business and who are we to judge when there’s success?

Vince Lombardi’s words came out with the zeal of a prohibitionist, with conviction he believes people of pot belong in jail. He points out that dispensaries are hidden in plain sight and that the reason he is being convicted is because he was too big and too commercial, with that said shouldn’t he be going after the recreational suppliers in Washington State? Products in multiple shops that are working to create a brand. All of Mr. Lombardi’s points were just as weak as his assistant attorney’s, all the products, all the processes for money, and all the marijuana is in the exact same fashion as in our recreational I-502 marijuana stores.

After closing arguments, some of the stolen product from the operating dispensaries was laid out as a representation for it all on the desk where the prosecution sat and the jury was paraded around it to look at and then dismissed to decide his fate.

All the supporters convened to the café below and waited anxiously for the verdict, released at 12:30 we all waited until 5 p.m., when the courts were closing. There was no decision made. Thursday is guaranteed to be the verdict, and I may unfortunately might not be there due to my own obligations, but my thoughts will be with Lance and I’m proud of the work I’ve done on this.

In the immortal words of the Original Vince Lombardi “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

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